Split Bus Panel

saltcedarFebruary 8, 2007

My home has what I believe is a GE panel that

was originally set up as a split bus. It also has

a knock out for a Main 100A breaker which has

since been installed. Now I'd like to jumper the

upper an lower halves of the buses together in

an attempt to regain a couple of breaker slots.

No part number is visible to look up the spec's

so it's just someone's best guess if this is doable.

Thanks

Chris

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solarpowered

We don't make "someone's best guess" changes to panelboards. The only allowable changes are those that the manufacturer has approved, and have been Listed by UL or other NRTL.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:14PM
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saltcedar

Good point, how do I comply without a listing/part number?

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 9:36PM
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solarpowered

If you can't find an approval, then you comply by not making the modification.

Others ways that you can get more breaker slots are by adding a subpanel, or by replacing the main panel.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 2:21AM
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bus_driver

If the present "Main" is bypassed in a split bus panel, the lower portion of the panel has no disconnect nor overcurrent protection except for the individual circuit fuses or breakers. The "Main" probably is actually marked "Main Lighting" and controls/protects the 120 volt circuits in the panel. The 1984 Code eliminated the split bus panels for new installations. The proposed modification is a really bad idea.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 9:13AM
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saltcedar

This is really a Main Breaker (disconnect). It truly interrupts power
to the bus bars. The panel was set up for either use. Since the main
is now in place the breakers to the lower section are redundant.
All I want is to jumper them together, not bypass. Then I may
be able to reuse the slots. While this might not be in the listing'
for some panels I suspect it would be allowed.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 9:50AM
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bus_driver

What is the brand name of the panel? Approximate year of installation? A split bus panel that has one main disconnect for the whole panel is a contradiction in terms.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 4:55PM
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guyinacoldhouse

Consider replacing it. Go take a look at some of the big 40 circuit boxes out there, lots of space to work, very nice. The replacing isn't too hard, it is pretty safe to do as the power company disconnects the power to your house so nothing is live. Moving all the circuits over is a bit of work, I'm replacing all the wire in my house so it was no extra work for me. If you do it, once you get the circuits moved, you will be glad you did.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 5:01PM
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bus_driver

I should have said one main that disconnects all loads in the panel. Such is not a split bus panel.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 5:01PM
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saltcedar

It's a GE panel installed ~1974.
Won't be replacing it unless it fails.
There is no payback on that kind of
upgrade. I'll just do without additional
circuits instead. Learned the hard way
few upgrades have any payback at sale
in this (area) housing market. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 5:43PM
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spencer_electrician

There was one in a house I re-wired. They didn't want a service upgrade so I just added a square D sub panel next to the GE main. The GE box had a 50 amp lighting main so I just came out with a 50 amp breaker to the sub. The other bus of the 100 amp GE panel had 40 for the oven, 40 for the A/C, and a 30 amp dryer. There were only 2 general circuits left in the main and most everything was put in the square D panel. You could put in a sub panel like that for under $80 with the wire, and breakers.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 6:20PM
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saltcedar

Thanks Spencer, that sounds just like mine.
I'd only hire it out, so DIY isn't an option.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 6:29PM
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saltcedar

Say Spencer
You wouldn't happen to know the part number
would you. It might come in handy to check the listing.

Thanks
Chris

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 6:47PM
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spencer_electrician

Not sure, I'm going to a house on sunday that has one, I'll try to remember to look at it. There were a lot of GE panels like that in the 60's. I think the two that I have seen have: the top bus is connected to the main lines by a backfed 100 amp breaker it has slots for some breakers (designed for double pole air conditoners, oven, etc) The lugs on the top section have a jumper down to a back fed breaker on the lower bus (50 amp breaker) The panel also accepts tandem breakers.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:04PM
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saltcedar

Yeppers that sounds just like mine.
Thanks in advance.
Chris

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 7:19PM
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saltcedar

Spencer did you find that part number?

Later
Chris

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:55PM
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